Sierra Club stories from the front lines

100-Mile Run for Wind Energy

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How far would you go to promote clean energy? For Sierra Club member Matt Kearns of Long Island, the answer is 100 miles. This past Saturday, June 14, Kearns took off from Montauk, at the far eastern tip of Long Island, and ran to the town of Babylon, N.Y., to draw attention to Long Island's potential to develop clean, renewable, offshore wind power off the coasts of Montauk and Long Beach, just west of New York City.

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Building offshore wind capacity would create jobs, drive millions of dollars in investments to Long Island and position New York as a national leader with one of America's first offshore wind projects.

Matt-Kearns-Wind-100

Kearns' run was originally to end at the Long Beach Boardwalk, but medical reasons forced him to stop just short of his 100-mile goal. He arrived at the boardwalk in the support van, having run 90 miles from Montauk to Babylon -- the equivalent of back-to-back-to-back marathons plus an additional 12 miles.

Wind-100Photo by Jack McCoy, courtesy of Jack McCoy Photography

A resident of North Babylon who worked for Green Homes and is now project manager for a construction company, Kearns grew up in East Setauket on Long Island's north shore, where he was initially inspired to tackle environmental problems after a dangerous gas pipeline leak that contaminated the water under the town. More recently, his sense of urgency was bolstered by witnessing the destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy, which inspired him to take action to find solutions to the climate crisis.

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Kearns started working as a home energy efficiency contractor where he spent time everyday talking to Long Islanders about energy issues in their homes. At the same time, he joined the Sierra Club, where he got involved in efforts calling on Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), the local utility, to invest in offshore wind power. This year, PSEG-Long Island (Public Service Electricity and Gas) along with LIPA's trustees could decide to invest in an offshore wind project proposed 30 miles off the coast of Montauk that would produce enough renewable electricity to power 120,000 Long Island homes.

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As an avid runner, Kearns thought there was more he could do, so he came up with the Wind 100 as a way to connect two points on Long Island with offshore wind potential and areas hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.

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"Long Islanders know the dangers posed by climate disruption and we want to be part of the solution," he says. "We're particularly vulnerable to stronger storms and rising seas, but this unique geography also gives us access to one of the most reliable renewable energy sources in the world just off our shores. "We can be a national leader, but we need Governor Cuomo, our LIPA trustees and PSEG-Long Island to help get us there by committing to build offshore wind in New York."

Finish-line-Wind-100Photo by Jack McCoy, courtesy of Jack McCoy Photography

At the end of his long run, Kearns was greeted by a cheering crowd at the Sierra Club's Wind 100 rally and concert. Below, J and the 9's perform at the Long Beach Boardwalk.

Wind-100-rally-&-concertPhoto by Jack McCoy, courtesy of Jack McCoy Photography

"We are all incredibly proud of Matt and everything he's done to help bring offshore wind to Long Island," says Sierra Club organizer Lisa Dix. "Now, it's up to Governor Cuomo to get job-creating offshore wind across the finish line this year."

Petition-to-Governor-CuomoPhoto by Jack McCoy, courtesy of Jack McCoy Photography

Please support Kearns's efforts by signing this petition telling Governor Cuomo to make offshore wind a reality.

Go-Matt-Wind-100Photo by Jack McCoy, courtesy of Jack McCoy Photography